Case of the Haunted Hearts, Scene 4: Catching Up with Old Friends

Last time on Case of the Haunted Hearts, Angel defended Melissa during a press conference, found a threatening note, and ran into a suspicious character. Will she get to the bottom of this mystery? Find out after the cut.

I hurried toward the line of trailers parked in a row outside the soundstage. When you think ‘trailers,’ think again. These are not RV’s [sic] you’d find at campground or a construction site. These are movie-star trailers, tricked out with tinted windows, climate control, giant flatscreens, hot tubs, the works. Each is designated as dressing rooms-slash-retreats for a specific star.

Appearing in this Chapter:

Angel West: Our POV character.

Melissa DeGravis: Angel’s estranged best friend. Star of Haunted Hearts. Daughter of Simon DeGravis, guitarist for fictional 80s rock band Tunesmith (which I assume is supposed to be a stand-in for Aerosmith, my least favorite band ever).

The Plot So Far:

Angel arrives at Melissa’s trailer, but hesitates to knock. Her former best friend’s behavior on set and her absence from the press conference seem to confirm all the negative press about her character. But then Angel notices that Melissa decorated her trailer’s name tag with stickers that she gave her years ago, and realizes that maybe Melissa is still the same person she was before.

Angel’s hunch is right: Mel acts like her old self when she opens the door to her trailer. She downplays all the production problems, offers Angel food and drink, reminisces about the old days with Angel and her News Team, and sings with Angel. Talk then shifts to Mel’s days on Reach for the Stars, and how Mel needed to win the contest so she could earn a music career instead of riding on her dad’s coattails.

Eventually, the girls discuss differences between Haunted Hearts and Jaxi Crome’s Malled. The former is an adaptation of Phantom of the Opera (or, more accurately, Phantom of the Paradise), while the latter is an alien invasion movie involving extraterrestrials mutating teenagers in order to take over an Apple Store. Haunted Hearts is probably the superior movie, but it’s been plagued with production issues.

Angel chooses this moment to show Mel the suspicious note she found on set earlier. She also reveals that the prop bat is supposed to “kill” a character at some point in Haunted Hearts. (The assistant director mentioned this in the last chapter. I think I forgot that part.) Mel shows Angel the scene in the script: one of the protagonist’s rivals is gruesomely killed by a bat that falls when she sings a high note. Angel thinks that someone (possibly Jaxi) is using the script to stage accidents on the set. Mel gives her a spare copy of the film script so she can study all the death scenes.

Suddenly, the girls notice a pissed-off rattlesnake on Mel’s laptop! Where the hell did that come from?


Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:

The cast trailers for Haunted Hearts are marked with the names of Peanuts characters. Melissa’s, for instance, is labeled “Snoopy”.

Angel lives with her dad in Santa Monica, and occasionally visits her mom in Brentwood.

Ace Furlough — the show that Angel’s dad is the head writer for — is one of the longest-running detective shows on TV.

Traci Newman (the Wes Mantooth to Angel’s Ron Burgundy) is the daughter of an unnamed actor who was in the Transformers movies. For the sake of this recap, let’s pretend that she’s Mark Wahlberg’s daughter.

Melissa plays a Gibson Hummingbird guitar. It was a gift from her father for her 12th birthday. Spoiler: This guitar will be a key item in the plot later on.

Tunesmith is on a reunion tour in Japan. Maybe they’re playing at Budokan?

Soundtrack Highlights:

In which I post the lyrics to original songs featured in this chapter! Today it’s an excerpt from Melissa’s first hit, “My First Song”.

My first song, made me feel right when everything was wrong
And when you sing with me, you open my eyes, make me feel strong

Part of me wishes that someone recorded the songs mentioned in this book, like they did with the B*Tween songs for Avalon: Web of Magic. Fans, get on this.


NEXT TIME: I’m fed up with these [redacted] snakes in this [redacted] trailer!

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